Posts Tagged ‘Teach for America’

David Letterman’s Top 10 Reasons I’ve Decided To Become a Teacher

May 16, 2013


Click on the link to read  25 Amusing Signs You Might Be a 21st Century Teacher

Click on the link to read  20 Questions Teachers Should Be Asking Themselves

Click on the link to read School Official Allegedly told a Teacher to Train her Breasts to not Make Milk at Work

Click on the link to read 12 Tips for Managing Time in the Classroom

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Different Professions, Same Experiences

Click on the link to read Our Pay Isn’t the Problem


Teachers Considered “Highly Qualified” After 5 Weeks of Training

July 18, 2012

Of course a student learning to become a teacher has not developed the skills to justifiably call themselves a “highly qualified” teacher. Sadly, with teacher training at such a poor standard, they could be studying for 5 years and it wouldn’t make much difference:

Today a U.S. House appropriations subcommittee will consider legislation that would allow students still learning to be teachers to be considered highly qualified teachers under federal law.

The nonprofit organization Teach for America places college graduates into high needs schools after giving them five weeks of training in a summer institute. The TFA corps members, who are required to give only a two-year commitment to teaching, can continue a master’s degree in education with selected schools while teaching.

Of course it doesn’t make any real sense that a new college graduate with five weeks of ed training or any student teacher should be considered highly qualified — because they aren’t. But federal officials inexplicably partial to Teach for America have bestowed millions of dollars on the organization, and TFA has, not surprisingly, lobbied Congress for this legislation.

The truth is, that 5 weeks of practical observation and teaching is far more beneficial that years of theory and mindless lectures.

Click on the link to read, ‘Teachers Trained Very Well to Teach Very Poorly

Crying in Front of Your Students

November 20, 2011

I have never cried in front of my students.  However, in my first years of teaching, there were times when I felt completely out of my element and had to keep my resolve and try by best to pull through.

I’ve just read a brilliant piece by Caitlin Hannon, a first year teacher, whose introduction to teaching reduced her to tears.  And who can blame her?

I broke a cardinal rule of teaching several times last year: I cried in front of my students.

Sometimes it happened out of frustration. Just as often, I was overcome during very honest conversations about the struggles my students face within and beyond the school building. At least twice the tears were brought on by uncontrollable laughter at a student’s joke.

As a first-year teacher, I figured tears (of some kind) were inevitable.

I knew I wanted to make a difference, and I thought that difference needed to start in the classroom — not in an office as a policymaker, with little or no connection to, and understanding of, what happens inside schools.

This desire, and my nontraditional education background, led me to Teach For America, a program that trains recent college graduates from various backgrounds to teach in public schools. I spent my first year teaching English at Tech High School, which served a predominantly low-income, minority population. This year, I am teaching seventh-grade language arts at Emma Donnan Middle School.

By the end of that first year, I realized that the life I’d changed the most was my own.

Who is prepared to read a child’s disclosure of abuse in a journal entry?

Who is an expert at helping a student handle the loss of several close family members in a bout of gang violence over the weekend?

I experienced both of these scenarios and more during my first year, and it’s hard to imagine a traditional route to the classroom making it any easier to deal with such heartbreak.

Above is just an excerpt of the article.  I encourage you to read the entire piece. It strengthens my long-held position, that teachers are not fully prepared for the rigours of a classroom due to the failings of the teacher training programs. I also feel that new teachers are left to their own devices when they really need a non-judgemental mentor to help show them the ropes and counsel them through the tough times.

Ms. Hannon may not have had her last cry at school, but her passion and teaching philosophy suggests that she is going to have a great future. Her students are going to be the great beneficiaries of her blood, sweat and, yes, tears …


The Teacher Blame Game Isn’t Fair

October 28, 2011

It seems to be more fashionable than ever to knock teachers.  Teachers are being dubbed as lazy and inept.

In truth it is easy to criticise teachers but very hard to be one.

We need more articles like this one by Patricia McGuire to defend teachers and set the record straight.

Yes, teachers should certainly be held accountable for excellence in teaching and for measurable results in the progress their students make each day. Teachers are on the front line of student learning assessment, since they really do know better than anyone else what makes a child successful or lackadaisical, engaged or detached in class. Standardized tests rarely measure the real progress that teachers make with some of the most challenging pupils whose learning styles are far off the normed curves.

The current fashion in education reform treats teachers as lazy slugs who care little about whether their students are learning anything. The assumption behind using standardized testing for teacher evaluation is that the only way to make teachers care about learning is to embarrass them publicly when their students do not perform according to someone else’s idea of norms. This assumption is what is truly preposterous!

For teachers who choose to devote their life’s work to some of the most difficult classrooms in America, such as here in the District of Columbia, the testing imperative becomes a monumental disincentive to stay in the classroom for any length of time, since the opportunities for sustained superior results on standardized tests are rare, while the risks of frequent subpar results are very high. It’s no secret that the widely-hailed Teach for America program has ingrained two-year turnover in its teaching corps. TFA teachers rarely stay to wrestle through the down years, which are frequent among students in marginalized communities.

Governments are so busy trying to find a negatively geared incentive for teachers and a scale that compares their effectiveness that they have lost sight of the most important pieces of the Education reform puzzle:

1.  Revolutionise teacher training programs to focus on the practical instead of the theoretical.

2. Have measures in place that allow all teachers (especially new teachers) the support they need.

3.  Spend more time critiquing schools with questionable cultures of bullying and harrasment.  Give these school’s the support they need to better handle their affairs.

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